I didn’t grow up in a cooking household. With two working parents and seven sisters it was more of a defrost and feed the masses situation. It was culinary triage every day.
I never saw a head of garlic, or a homemade cake, or real whipped cream my entire childhood. The focus was on feeding the herd of people who lived at my house, while still trying to pay the bills. Homemade fancy sunday supper wasn’t at the top of that hierarchy of needs.
Which is why meals like this mean so much to me. Being able to throw my figurative heart and soul into a meal, take a few hours doing it, and serve it to people I care about. Even if it’s on a Tuesday night.
Especially if it’s on a Tuesday night.
Roasted Duck Legs with Porter Cherry Sauce
- ¼ cup rendered duck fat (can sub olive oil), divided
- 4 duck legs, skin on
- salt and pepper
- ¼ cup chopped shallots
- 3 cloves garlic, grated with a microplane
- ½ cup porter beer
- 10 wt oz (1 ½ cups)dark sweet cherries, fresh or frozen (such as bing)
- ¼ tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tbs honey
- Preheat oven to 375.
- Heat 2 tablespoons duck fat (or olive oil) in a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat.
- Sprinkle the duck skin with salt and pepper.
- Place the duck legs into the hot pan, skin side down, cook until skin has browned, about 6 minutes. Flip the duck legs overs.
- Place the cast iron skillet in the oven for 1 ½ to 2 hours or until the duck reaches 165F degrees. (If you don’t have a large enough cast iron skillet, just brown the duck legs and then transfer them, skin side up, to a baking dish). You can reduce the oven to 200 and keep the duck in the oven until ready to serve for up to 1 hour. To crisp the skin back up (of it becomes soft in the oven), preheat the broiler and place the duck under the broiler for a few minutes, keeping a very close eye to make sure the duck doesn’t burn.
- While the duck is cooking make the cherry sauce. In a pot over medium high heat add the remaining 2 tablespoons duck fat. Add the shallots and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic. Add the porter, cherries, smoked paprika, black pepper and honey. Allow to boil, stirring frequently, until thickened, about 8 minutes.
- Spoon the sauce over the duck just prior to serving, or serve alongside.
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I use this Duck Fat (affiliate link) because it’s well priced and good quality. A little goes a long way so one jar will last a while. Also, if you cook duck in duck fat, you can save the rendered fat for later use. Like these potatoes, or this Duck Confit.
I also use this Microplane (affiliate link) all the time. Perfect for grating garlic in seconds, much easier than mincing with a knife.